My friend Peggy is talented in so many ways it is hard to know where to start in describing her. When I first met her at Newport Harbor High School in the 70s, she was a ballet dancer. From the top of her lovely head to the bottom of her toes encased in point shoes, she looked every inch as I thought a dancer should look. Her beautiful blonde hair was very long. She wound it up into a knot at the back of her head when she needed to practice a plié or pas de deux, but when the tresses spilled down unbound, she could sit on it. (Trust me, I was impressed.)
Peggy was/is a lovely Southern Belle who was being raised in Southern California; she visited Stanton Hall in Natchez, Mississippi, during summer vacations. I was not quite aware of where she went and did not understood much about her roots until I became adult and noticed the blend of Californian articulation edged with a Southern lilt.
Though I had none of her grace (being barely go to the opera without tripping on the stairs leading to my seat) she never made me feel clumsy or awkward. As friends, we reveled in what we shared, which, apart from fair skin in a world of tanned beach bunnies, was an adoration of history, travel, art, music, cinema, and literature.
Peggy and I took several classes together in high school; I recall our creative writing teacher reading aloud one of her short stories. When I went away to boarding school, she wrote to me, pretending to be Edgar Allen Poe. It was such fun! Reminiscences aside, this young lady could write and still can, just as she continues dancing, acting and now paints with great flair.
We are still friends, thirty years on, and in our fifties. Today she is married to a handsome and charming gentleman named Jim. She devotes most of her time to her husband, family and social demands. She has been dreaming of writing a play for longer than we like to remember, but never gives her own desires priority.
So this is a reminder to Peggy, who I hope has not forgotten what I want most for my birthday: the first act of a play, by none other than the dancing girl who has always been one of my dearest and most creative friends.